The notion that all the country needs are prayers for the revival of the economy would have been less absurd if such sentiments had come from an ordinary person like me or some of our money-making prophets, but not from high-ranking government officials.
Such sentiments, coming from two people — whom my friend with a penchant for hyperbole describes as “a whole Vice-President and a whole Provincial Affairs minister responsible for policy”, do not inspire confidence.
What these two want the nation to believe is that if we all close our eyes in prayer, the moment we open them we will be happy to discover that poof!—the economy is back on its tracks. We will suddenly hear National Railways of Zimbabwe wagons groaning under the burden of cargo destined for external markets. We will suddenly see the rusty silos at Grain Marketing Board full of grain. We will suddenly see Treasury overflowing with our own currency. We will suddenly see some people’s multiple farms overflowing with a healthy, green crop. They want us to believe that in the wink of an eye, we will see corruption relegated to the annals of history. They want us to believe that we will see, in a flash, the country return to its prestigious status of being the breadbasket of Africa. We will suddenly discover, to our joy, freeways and byways networking the country instead of the potholed roads people have to endure at present.
These guys want us to believe that prayer is a substitute for duty. Is it not their duty as people in government to craft and implement policies that revive our economy? Is it not their duty to ensure that the country has strong institutions to support and implement policies that ensure a thriving economy? So they want us to substitute their dereliction of duty with prayer? If life were that simple, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
Can prayer arrest thieves who have looted the country’s parastatals? NO. Prayer cannot stop people using taxpayers’ money to throw lavish birthday parties and neither can it stop useless portfolios that drain the fiscus.
My colleague, who is well versed in spiritual matters more than I, said to me: “Kamurai, you must always bear in mind this equation: human effort + divine power = success.” So these people want human effort to concentrate on looting, draining the fiscus by staying in luxurious hotels, engaging in corrupt activities that include the abuse of taxpayers’ money etc, while divine intervention ensures the success of the economy under such circumstances?
Maybe these two (and we hope they are not microcosmic of all our policymakers) have taken Karl Marx’s words too far when he said that religion is the opium of the masses. They want to practically implement that by ordering us to pray and hope that the Great God will come from the sky and make us feel high, while they wallow in luxury.
If those with power and the well-connected continue looting resources and financial institutions, as we read daily in the Press, then perhaps our prayers — that is if prayers work — should be directed at their fall. Isn’t it a fact that when policymakers tell the nation to pray for the success of the economy it is an open admission that they have failed? They want to transfer the blame for their misdeeds to God for if nothing happens to revive the economy, they want the nation to blame God for not answering their prayers. I suspect they will point to the sky and say: “Ask Him (God), not us, why the economy is getting worse after your prayers.” Or they want to continue with the opium theme and say: “Look, we all know that God takes long to answer your prayers, but be assured He will. It may take a lifetime, but He will definitely answer. And remember the poorer you are, the better your chances of inheriting the Kingdom of Heaven.” All this while we see mansions sprouting out of the people’s sweat and resources.
It won’t be surprising that if people accuse them of not doing anything positive to improve the economy as policymakers are expected to, they will simply tell them: “We told you to pray and you didn’t.”
I seek enlightenment by asking: What exactly do two Vice-Presidents do that cannot be done by one Vice-President as we see in other nations? And what exactly do provincial ministers do apart from advising us to pray? I hope those who have knowledge about the functions of a government will assist me.
l Kamurai Mudzingwa writes in his personal capacity. Feedback email@example.com